Reporting Gary Nelson
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez easily defeated opponent Joe Martinez to retain his top job in the county Tuesday night. But, Martinez is not going gently into the night after losing by more than 20 percent of the vote.
With all precincts reporting, Gimenez won 54 percent of the vote compared to Martinez’s 31 percent. Gimenez captured 126,483 votes to Martinez’s 71,783.
Still, Martinez has not officially conceded the race and has reportedly said he will not concede while he considers a challenge on alleged absentee ballot fraud.
Martinez’s election night party illustrated his point when John Rivera of the Miami-Dade Police union asked Martinez to challenge the ballots.
“This community deserves the election it elects or steals,” Rivera said. “If you want a government of fraud, Carlos Gimenez is your mayor.”
The controversy over absentee ballot fraud came to light after a Hialeah woman was found with multiple absentee ballots that police said may have been forged. The allegations reached both the Mayor’s office and State Attorney’s office, though neither campaign was ever implicated in fraud.
Gimenez was campaigning for his first full term in office. He was originally elected after then-Mayor Carlos Alvarez was recalled. Gimenez was elected to finish off Alavrez’s roughly last year in office. Mayor Gimenez did roll back property taxes and cut government jobs and benefits to government workers, including police officers.
The unions were not among Gimenez’s supporters in the 2012 campaign.